Alright, so now that I’ve caught you all up on my past summer, fall, and crazy ayahuasca experience…
(Start here if you need to get caught up on this recent series of blog posts)
What has been happening with me since then?
So we went to Peru and did our ayahuasca ceremonies in early December 2015, and now it’s nearly April.
After ayahuasca, we continued on traveling for another six weeks or so, through Bolivia and Northern Chile.
During my travels, I was well aware of what I learned during ayahuasca… basically, when stuff sucks, stop resisting, breathe in, and then let it all go.
But, I mean.. I was traveling. Everything was going well. We were seeing new things every day. It was exciting.
It’s hard to practice this stuff when things are going well. I was keen to almost leave my ayahuasca experience behind and just forget all about it. Who needs it?
But Home Was a Different Story…
Then we come home.
And home starts triggering things in me.
Home was where, before we went to South America, I was very lonely, bored, and frustrated.
Things were getting better now situationally – Luke was home with me, and everything was great with the two of us. I was feeling re-invigorated by The Love Vitamin, sharing all these recent truth vomit blog posts.
But I was still pretty lonely beyond him. We still didn’t really have any close friends in town, and the rainy greyness of winter on the west coast will always get to me as well.
Suddenly, I got into this pattern where every evening – about two or three hours before bed, and continuing on to bedtime – I start having this bout of pure, generalized anxiety. This is something I had never really experienced before, not like this.
And it was like clock work every night.
Suddenly I would have a random, terrible thought.
Luke dying. A huge earthquake. Getting cancer. Being really old and immobile and alone was a common one.
And then a dark scary awful feeling would come over me, reminiscent of my ayahuasca experience. Like being inside a cave that’s caving in on you.
I don’t know why this was happening, really.
At first, I wanted to be angry, feeling like … great, wasn’t ayahuasca supposed to make you feel better? I’m worse off than I was before!
And normally, in reaction to something like that, I would probably immediately want to go do one or all of the following things:
- Decide there was something ‘not right’ about the feeling of our house, and that I wanted to move, thinking that a change in environment would stop the bad feelings
- Get on the internet and obsessively read everything I could about how to get rid of anxiety, and try everything to make it go away
- Start freaking out every time I felt the anxiety come on, and insist on emotionally resisting it with all my might. And make myself even more terrified by assuming that how I felt right now would be how I would feel forever.
Instead, I decided to look at this positively: I don’t know why this is happening and I don’t like it, but I am having the chance now to practice what I learned.
Providing I wasn’t going to immediately run into some sort of mega disaster – a death, illness, or terrible accident … if everything is going super well in my life, how else was I going to practice what I learned in my ayahuasca ceremony?
So while this generally sucked, it gave me something to work with.
Let’s Go Over the Lessons Again
Let’s recap what I learned from my recent life experiences and ayahuasca:
- It’s okay to feel bad. Sometimes life makes you feel bad. It’s normal. It’s okay.
- Don’t resist the bad feelings. The more you resist the reality of what is happening and how you are feeling right then, the more of a struggle it’s going to be. Accept things as they are right now. That includes accepting that you feel bad.
- You don’t have to do anything to make the feelings go away. Just let them be there, observe them, and let them go. Breathe in, and breathe it all out and come back to your centre. Come back to the present moment.
- If you do take action towards making it go away (for example, trying a new routine to get rid of acne), that’s great, but do it from a place of acceptance of the current situation and let go of the expectations and attachments you have to the outcome
So when these anxiety attacks would come on, of course, my instinct was to do something to make them go away. Fidget and roll around. Get up out of bed and watch youtube all night so I didn’t have to feel it. Just completely freak out.
Instead, I practiced just letting the feelings sit there until they dissipated, or I fell asleep. I surrendered to the fact that while I don’t like it, it’s just how I feel right now in this moment. And I accept that.
Which was really hard, but I knew now that resisting them would make it all worse in the long run.
I knew that the more I resisted, the more anxiety would come. The stronger it would get, and the more power it would hold over me.
The Urge to Flee Was Still In Me
Meanwhile, in the rest of my life, I’ve tried to keep myself busy with projects. I’ve been blogging, getting back in the kitchen (which is so great after eating so poorly in South America), and I have started really really enjoying working on the house.
At first, I was still getting occasional feelings of discomfort and boredom here and there, and the familiar urge give into them and run away from it all. Which is my default reaction when something is making me feel unpleasant.
Pack it in, sell the house, quit my biz, and become a climbing bum. Then I’ll be happy. Surely.
But with those too, I now knew better … I knew that they were transient, and that I have to surrender to the ebb and flow; the ups and downs of life.
I now know that working on my own happiness within, where I already am and with what I already have, is going to go a lot further than trying to find happiness from a new environment or a new situation.
I mean, don’t get me wrong – it’s totally fine to switch things up in your life, as long as you understand and accept that things are never perfect, and get rid of your expectations for how it will make you feel.
After all, as a permanent rock climbing bum, after not too long I’d just end up missing my home, my bed, my dogs, my kitchen, and my blog.
So again, I just let the feelings be there and waited until they passed, and didn’t do anything to make them go away, like I normally try to.
And It’s Working!!
Eventually with all of my efforts of non resistance and patience, things have slowly started to get better and better.
It took a while, but the anxiety started slowing down. At first that meant that it would still come on every night like clockwork, but I could just let it go a lot faster. I got better at not resisting it.
And eventually after a few months, it also meant that it just isn’t showing up at all anymore.
Sometimes it decides to, but I have gotten so good at being like ‘ah whatever, you can’t hurt me’, that it goes away within a few minutes instead of a few hours. It’s lost its power.
And in the rest of my life, the feelings of wanting to flee have also given up.
I’m really enjoying where I am now. I am loving my house and house projects, loving my husband, loving The Love Vitamin. Spring is here, which always feels like a rebirth for me.
A couple of our best friends are moving back into town next month (actually, right into our basement suite), and we have a big project in the works: we are starting a co-operative indoor rock climbing gym in our town.
After five years of working from home and being pretty dang hermitty, this is exactly what I need to get out of the house and get involved face to face with my community.
So life could still throw me some curveballs, but things seem to be looking up.
It’s been a difficult year but the struggle means that I have come to a much deeper understanding about myself, my personal patterns, and how to deal with the rough stuff that comes along.
Thanks for listening to my recent journey, I have been really enjoying sharing it with you, even if it wasn’t particularly acne related.
And I’ve hope you’ve found something in it that you can relate and apply to your own life 🙂
Next week we’ll get back to talking about skin for a while!